Avoidance Of Denial

Denial is for pussies.  When things go to shit, man up and face it.  You’ll thank yourself in the end.  Pretending otherwise is for morons and politicians.  Which brings me to this article; U.S. Is Bankrupt and We Don’t Even Know It.

“We have 78 million baby boomers who, when fully retired, will collect benefits from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid that, on average, exceed per-capita GDP. The annual costs of these entitlements will total about $4 trillion in today’s dollars. Yes, our economy will be bigger in 20 years, but not big enough to handle this size load year after year. This is what happens when you run a massive Ponzi scheme for six decades straight…”

He’s correct.  As a nation, we’re screwed.  So is Europe.

What I’m writing about is the idea of surprise.  I’d rewrite “U.S. Is Bankrupt and We Don’t Even Know It” as “U.S. Is Bankrupt and You Already Knew That“.  The idea of “surprise” is a falsehood meant to assuage fragile Baby Boomer egos.

Social Security has been unsustainable for years.  I know it.  You know it.  My dog knows it.  If your dog doesn’t know it get a smarter dog.

Regardless of their public statements, every congressman, senator, and president for decades has known it too.  They knew it when they campaigned.  You knew it when you voted.

The only group that acts “surprised” by the Ponzi nature of Social Security (and other programs) is Baby Boomers.  Why?  Because pretending they paid for what they’re getting makes cashing that check feel better.  It’s easy to not understand something when you get a monthly check not to.  If you send me a big enough check I’ll pretend that the moon is made of green cheese and I like tofu.  Cashing checks of bad money isn’t that hard.  Baby Boomers did and will continue to do it in massive numbers.

Denial is unbecoming of the rest of us.  I’m younger than Baby Boomers.  In my age cohort we’ve known that every payment made to social security was charity to the elder generation.  I knew social security would fail me when Pac Man was new technology, when digital watches were cool, when televisions had dials, when the Space Shuttle was untested.  When my first paycheck at my first shitty minimum wage job had a Social Security deduction, I knew that money would not pay for my retirement.  To the degree that I am able, I have acted accordingly.  To do otherwise is unforgivably stupid.

When Baby Boomers complete their financial mayhem as they age; feigned surprise won’t help.  If you were good at denial or thought magic rainbow stimulus money would save you…stop it.  Right now.  Don’t endanger yourself for the convenience of a fiction.  Cover your financial ass and get ready for a wild ride as Boomers meet their first unavoidable limits; both on finances and on life itself.  It will be interesting.

Now here’s the “glass is half full” part.  Bad times push you toward but don’t guarantee personal disaster.  In every long drawn out slow motion financial decline some folks emerge OK.  Not everyone starved in the Great Depression.  Many rode it out intact and a few even thrived.  Endeavor to be one of them.

How?  It’s more than I can say in a short article and I’m not sure I know it all myself.  So you’re on your own.  Which of course is always true of all people at all times so you might as well roll with it.


Hat Tip to Papa De Bravo who linked to the article several months ago.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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